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On Growing Teeth, Blowing Bubbles & Trusting the Process

My five-month-old daughter sprouted her first set of teeth this week. And I'm proud to say she's taking the process of growing them very well – um, well, as well as any tiny human would. There have been days of uncomfortable pain and tears and countless nights of struggle trying to make it through the wee hours. I found myself continually replacing her little fingers with a rotation of teething products in fear she wouldn’t have any more fingers left after this teething season. But through the many changes her body was enduring, she managed to find joy giggling, blowing bubbles, and playing with her toes. 

Just like the process of growing teeth, creating a solid foundation for our dreams to take root requires us to practice patience and find joy during the days of struggle. And that is a process, a painful one at that. 

In the first stage, the process of growth is tender and sore and after a few days it'll begin to throb. It's unpleasant and hard and honestly just darn irritating. How can you be cheerful and festive in moments when you just want to retreat, curl up in a ball and binge watch Grey's Anatomy for the fifth time? 

Growing (something) is hard. Little humans know that process the best. Between discovering this new world, teething and hitting all their milestones, they deserve a diamond crown and a gold throne. But my Haven Belle settles for extra cuddles and many, many kisses. I wipe away her tears and give her another kiss, she makes a little huff and continues playing with her toys and blowing bubbles knowing all well that tomorrow her teeth will still be making its way through her gums before their glorious appearance. Because it’s a process.

Allow God to walk with you through the process of change and growth. Let him be the shoulder you cry on and the place where you gather your strength for the next day. Keep feeding on Jesus and his word. Do the work, trust the process, don't fight it, and most importantly don't rush it. 

Easier said then done! I was an anxious mess constantly peaking in Haven’s mouth hoping to see the fruits of her labor finally coming through. Two weeks went by, then one month, then two more weeks – I was ready to see at least a bit of relief on her face, but she continued to giggle and drool. Wait, Mama. Have patience. They're coming. 

If you're in the process of growing – in your work, in your dream, in your new venture, in your new project, in your development – just hang on. You're 2016 may be off to a slow start and that's okay. Strong and stable cannot be rushed. And if you worry and fear that this process isn’t working or the work is too hard, take a step back, breathe, maybe blow some bubbles, and trust your God that what you’re going through right now will produce a rich harvest. Doubt only hinders our ability to live a joyful, confident life.

Don't miss out on the giggles. The pain is not for nothing. You’ll see. So, stay the course. Do the work. Log the hours. Growth takes time. 

The Shark Tank

“In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy.  And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.”   - Warren Buffet Last week as I stood in line at Target I chatted with a woman who was shopping with a daughter the same age as mine.  After a few minutes she asked where I worked and without thinking I answered, “A Shark Tank.”  We laughed and continued our conversation about snacks, short shorts and the long lines that seem to plague all California retailers.

I’ve only been in my new job for 6 months and while I’m enjoying the change of scenery, the change of pace and the new challenges my job has presented; this office has already left a bad taste in my mouth.  One of my first observations when I got here was that everyone was smart and ambitious, just like me.  However, there is a trait missing amongst some of my colleagues – integrity.

Trust and integrity take years to build; projects completed on time, fair prices and billing, promotions for those that work for you.  All it takes is one lie, one bad choice to destroy it all.  Having an “end justifies the means” mentality may get you the result you need in the moment but it could also be beginning of the end.

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9 (English Standard Version)

I see some of these people rewarded and I know who they have stepped on and over to get their results.  As much as I would love my share of the limelight I know that it’s a path I cannot choose.  When I first decided to take this job I’ll admit I was enticed by possibilities of promotions, new titles and more money.  I will always strive for more, to be better, to grow – it’s who I am, but it’s the path we choose that sets us apart.

“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.”  Proverbs 28:6 (English Standard Version)

It may take me longer to get where I want to be, but I have faith that things will happen as they should; and I can’t put a price tag on the example I set for my daughter.  At the young age of five, she sees, hears and absorbs everything.  When she is an adult I hope she can be proud of the decisions I’ve made and understand why I made them.

“The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!”  Proverbs 20.7 (English Standard Version)

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, Thank you for making me who I am and giving me direction and correction.  Help me to be a woman of integrity, a woman who lives her life in private the way she lives in public.

What's the Hottest Diet and Does it Work?

In a recent episode of 20/20, Losing the Big Fat Trap, several fad diets were highlighted including the most recent and ludicrous of all:  The Tube in Your Nose Diet. The show started by examining several celebrity diets that we all have read about or seen. What was the most interesting to me were the big bucks these celebs were being paid to lose weight as a spokesperson for a particular diet program.  What a motivation!  I think we could all stick to a diet long-term if were being paid big bucks. 

The truth is all of these fad diets work “temporarily,” but most of them can’t be done long term.  Aren’t we, as women, tired of the back and forth dieting? I don’t know about you, but I am too busy to follow a restricted food plan and keep up with all of the diet trends.

For just a minute, can you stop wondering if the latest diet will work for you?  Can you throw out the hope that “this diet” is the answer for your quick weight loss?  Let’s focus on what really matters with our body and eating. 

 Control and Confidence

In working with many women to create a fitness and food design for their lifestyle, I have learned that most women are tired of letting their weight and food control their mind.  Many women feel it keeps them from focusing on what really matters in life.  They have missed out on opportunities with friends and family because of the lack of confidence in their body. They do not want to be imprisoned to a “diet.” What they want is to have control and confidence in what they are eating.

 Peace and Contentment

Can we really be at peace struggling to keep up with celebrity bodies or the latest diet?  When asked if a diet works, my response is, “Can you do it for the rest of your life?”  “If not, it will not work?” True joy comes when we are at peace with food and content with our body, a body that is a living example of health, not perfection.

 As a busy woman do you have time to try and live by these restricted diets?  To lose and maintain your weight, a Clear Design for your lifestyle is what is needed to stop the yoyo dieting.

 If you are ready to gain control and finally be at peace by knowing how to really eat healthy, including the foods you love, I would love to help you.  Contact me for a consultation at crystal@yourfitnessdesigner.com and simply add consultation to the email subject line.

 

Mood Lighting

Recently we were going to have a rather large get together in our home and I was a bit worried about how some of the guests would get along. Since the event was at our home I felt a little bold and resolved that since it was at my home it was up to me to set the mood. I was determined that as much as it was up to me I would include everyone. I wanted a spirit of unity among all of these beautiful people that I love so much. Thankfully that is how the night went. Something shifted in my thinking after that. The lighting of a room can set the mood, but the light in the room can shift the atmosphere. Two scriptures come to mind for me

Romans 8

12Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in."

Eph 6

12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

None of us has the ability to control another person but we do have the choice of what we will agree with. I want what I bring into every situation to be in agreement with what God is wanting me to do. Without a doubt His heart for me is to show His love, His compassion, His grace and mercy. When I bring that atmosphere with me into any situation it can only brighten things up.

This new way of thinking has allowed me to really take notice of whats going on around me. If the mood is yuck I want to shine the opposite in the room. Bringing hope to the hopeless, comfort to the hurting, peace to the weary. The last thing I want to do is go into a room full of worry and agree with it. No I acknowledge it's there and consciously choose not to agree with it but ask God what He wants shining in the middle of it.  I only want to partner with what He is wanting to do not add to any negative mood that's there.

 

Do you find yourself taking on negative attitudes easily?

Consider asking God about those ideas before adopting them as your own.

 

God,

Thank you for your wisdom in this area.

Amen

 

 

April Flowers Bloom in Fashion & at Home! My day with my Instagram App

April is in full bloom here in Texas and so have been the April showers (not this week though...come back, we need more water in the lake!).  So although our theme this month is #GoingGreen, for Fashion Friday I thought it would be fun to see just how much of the Fashion Fantasy Spring Trend has bloomed (ha!).  To my surprise, as I went throughout my day, the trend sprung up all around me!  So, with my nifty Instagram Ap my friend and co-CW writer, Nichole, introduced me to, I snapped away!

This was my day running through the flowers!

The day began taking a picture of my favorite floral decor arrangement that sits on my fireplace is  in my house.

 

Being Easter Weekend, I've been preparing for our Easter production with late night rehearsals, so I started my day off shopping before going into work.

My mission:  Mother's day dress to match my little Hadley's white dress with green bow.

Mission Accomplished!  My 1st mother's day dress I ordered online because the store didn't have my size....Can't wait to show you a pic of me & Hadley on Mother's day with our coordinating dresses :)

Disclaimer...Not Instagram :)

Next, off to shop for Patio Furniture for our backyard but what I found was a whole lot more!

My MUST HAVE chair from Pier 1...feel free to surprise me with this gift!  I love it but have no idea where I'd put it in my house!

Great pillow (BTW - Loving my Instagram features!)

 

Then it was off to work to really start my day!  My newly decorated office from the wonderful Myles Wren was right on trend with the Spring Floral Fantasy.  Thanks Myles!

 

Gotta have a decorative coffee cup for your guests!

 

While at work, so many girls flaunted the spring trend in lots of different ways.

Ashley was one of my favorites!  Cool, casual and ready for the summer!

 

Having fun with the girls!  One of my favorite floral shirts from Targe' a.k.a., Target.

Cheryl used the floral trend as an accessory.

Amy sported a brown floral summer dress that looked great!

 

PAUSE:  Although this was not part of my day, I had to share this picture I took a few days ago of my friend Alex's daughter.  Isn't she cute!  She's sporting floral leggings.  A future fashionista in the making!

Un-puase:

For lunch, I took off to Chipolte (like usual) and flew into Khols to get a glimpse of LC's line and this bracelet  was too cute not to show.

Get the look now for just $24 to start your Floral Fantasy Collection

Then, finally rehearsals came and the cast & crew began to show up to rehearse.  And there she was, my friend who made my fun instagram day possible, Nichole.  She, too, was wearing the floral trend and it was a great way to end my day of running through the flowers!

Take a look around your day and see how much of the Floral Fantasy trend has snuck into your world and send us a pic!  We'd love to see where you find the trend in your day!

Happy Good Friday, Fashion Friday

 

 

Veritas Boutique

Who is she... the girl with a busy schedule,  responsibility  at work, and a heart to do right by others? She's the woman in your carpool. She sits in the cubicle next to you. She's your next door neighbor. In fact, this might be you. You're the woman who loves life and gives life.

Whether struggling to squeeze  in time for yourself describes you or you're already successful in making sure you pamper yourself, Veritas is an easy fit for any lifestyle.

Offering a beautiful selection of natural stones, crystals and Czech glass.

 

 

Who is Veritas Boutique?

Veritas is an online boutique for lovers of accessories.

Handmade by Earthen Treasure

Stones include Moukaite,lapis lazuli, malachite

 

What is Veritas all about?

Twenty-something , Nadia O'Connell Sanchez is  living out the first installment of her lifetime dreams. This young business owner partners with artists in different parts of the country to provide shoppers with the opportunity to purchase one of a kind handcrafted items.

Handcrafted for Veritas Boutique by Just 1.

Nadia has made shopping  a multi-faceted experience. She's incorporated her strong social conscience into the framework of Veritas .

She donates twenty percent of each purchase  to one of her favorite  non-profit organizations. The Magdalene Project, Hubbard House and Fuel.ph are some of the groups that have been supported through her clients'  love for shopping and unique accessories.

 

Predominately brass chain joined with copper and silver  Glass pendants

 Swarovski shimmers between beads of coral, unakite, and moonkite.

CW Monthly Giveaway

In just days, you could be wearing the Royal Necklace pictured below. Visit the Created Woman FB Fan Page , name your favorite non-profit organization and your name will go in a drawing for this mother of pearl and coral combo.  Don't forget to mention @veritasboutique & @createdwoman in your post.

Don't wait another moment. Click on Veritas Boutique to see the newest additions. Join  Nadia as she partners to fight domestic violence, human trafficking and support creative outlets that change the world.

Whistle While You Work

As far as I can tell and as much as I hate to admit it, I'm a cliche. I'm a 20-something year old who's fresh out of college and trying to ''figure out my life". I thought that once I finished school last year, I'd quickly find a fun job that I loved and....I don't know. I guess I thought I'd be starting the "rest of my life". What I ended up doing was getting fired from my part-time student job, sending out 50 resumes with no responses, and accepted a job working for my husband's family business. It wasn't exactly the destination I had in mind while in school. While whining on my mom's shoulder recently, she said, "Life's  a roller-coaster and that's what you do at your age. You fumble around a bit and try to figure things out. You have to wait to see where life takes you." It's an uncomfortable place to be in for someone who loves preparation and planning. I mean, really, is there any way to plan for waiting?

The temptation that comes along when you're not exactly where you want to be in life is to not give 100% of yourself to your every day comings and goings. For example, maybe you really dislike your job so you decide that you don't have to work as hard at it. Maybe you dislike your co-workers who never do their share of work so you find yourself wondering, "Why should I do as much work as I'm doing if they slack off?"

At my last job, I realized my thoughts were going this direction and I wanted to nip it in the butt. I decided I always want to do my best because God is always watching. I decided that I always want to aim at pleasing Him.

"From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,     and the work of their hands brings them reward." -Proverbs 12: 14

If you're in a season of life and just wanting to move on to the next season, you may be missing valuable teachings. Maybe God's trying to teach us to honor people to the best of our abilities even when we're not exactly happy with where we are. Maybe He's trying to teach us faithfulness. Whatever He's doing, don't miss out on His wisdom just because you only have eyes for the next season of your life. Learn how to 'whistle while you work'! And commit to being the best person you can be in whatever path you're on right now!

The Heart of the Matter

The stress of working in retail the last 15 years has given me somewhat of a Bah Humbug attitude during the holiday season.  In fact my holiday motto has been “We Work Because You Don’t Have To.”  Retail employees live and die by the Vacation Blackout Schedule; the schedule that has kept me working during the holidays these last 15 years and even dictated the date of my marriage.  But holiday stress doesn’t just fall on those of us in the Retail profession; it touches everyone. Take a moment and reflect on the true reason for the season.  Jesus.  We celebrate the GIFT of life.  The baby who would grow up and GIVE his life for us.  Strange that the topic of giving should create so much stress this time of year.

When we think of Christmas giving we automatically think of shopping, spending money, wrapping presents and giving sweaters, jewelry and knick-knacks.  But that is not the only way to give, nor is it the best decision for everyone.  If you’re shopping on credit cards to give gifts to everyone in the entire office or every member of your extended family you may want to rethink your giving technique.

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box.  Many rich people put in large sums.  And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.  And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”  Mark 12:41 – 44 (English Standard Version)

No, this verse is not telling you to spend your last penny on gifts when you need to pay rent!  It’s asking you to give with the heart of the widowed woman.  Giving is more than dealing with material possessions; it’s the heart of the matter.  Are you giving to suck up to the boss or because you truly want to bless him?

Baking cupcakes & cookies for the office, donating your hair, writing a poem, doing volunteer work or watching a friend’s child for an afternoon are all ways of giving and showing love to those we care about without breaking the bank.  Set budgets and guidelines for giving with your office pals, family & spouse then stick to them.  Money is tight for most people these days and with the rising costs of gas, milk and Starbucks discussing limits shouldn’t be considered taboo.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven thank you for placing the desire to give in my heart.  Help me to understand how to bless people with gifts that show your love and mine without putting me / my family under financial strain.

Still Hungry?  Deuteronomy 15 instructs us to give cheerfully as does 2 Corinthians 9, which also reminds us that we reap what we sow (time, money, acts of kindness…).

Next Level Fitness Part 2

After adding core work to your daily routine, the next way you can take your fitness to the next level is to incorporate both types of cardio work: anaerobic and aerobic. Each one uses different metabolic pathways in our bodies, the first without oxygen and the second uses oxygen. I am going to explain why this is important and how to add each one to whatever kind of exercise you are currently doing.

Back in the 80’s the emphasis was on aerobic exercise only. Now, research is supporting a mixture of both aerobic and anaerobic. It actually leads to more favorable effects on our hormones, including cortisol, insulin, glucagons and human growth hormone (HGH). This affects our energy levels, immune system, inflammation, as well as the way our body processes and stores sugar, protein and fat. Balancing aerobic and anaerobic training will allow your body to have more efficient metabolism.

Another reason to balance these two forms of working out is to better manage the end products of the pathways. Everyone who has ever worked out really hard and had soreness experienced lactic acid. This is the end product of anaerobic training. On the other end of the spectrum is oxidative load from aerobic training. Our bodies are really amazing at cleaning up oxidative stressors in the body, and completely avoiding oxidative stress is impossible. The goal is to do what we can to not cause excessive oxidative load, and avoiding excessive aerobic exercise is a really good idea for overall health and wellness. I could write a lot more on the subject, but will refrain to give you the bottom line.

Let’s move on to “the How”. It’s easy to balance your current workout by changing your exertion level. Aerobic training is at ~ 65 – 75% exertion level and anaerobic is higher at ~ 85-90%. So if you walk for exercise, start with the lower exertion level for about 5 minutes, and then take it up a notch and walk briskly (until you can’t talk when you walk and/or are breathing heavily) for about 1 minute, then take it back down for 5 minutes and allow your body to catch up. Repeat 4-5 times, and you will have successfully incorporated both anaerobic and aerobic pathways to your work out. You can apply this principle to cycling, elliptical, and just about any type of workout that you do. Any type of class that says it uses “burst” training is probably using this balanced approach. The key is to not overdo either one. It’s always a good idea to run new exercise programs by your doctor.

Take your fitness to the next level by balancing your the internal pathways you use when you work out. It’s healthier, and more efficient. You can’t get any better than that!

Miss Manners.

Soon after Kristian and I got engaged, one of my aunts graciously offered to throw us an engagement party. Between full time work and school I left the guest list mostly to my mom. I made my own short list of about ten family members and friends and e-mailed them over to her to double check and finalize. A few weeks later one of Kristian’s sisters commented about how offended she was not to have received an invitation to the party. I was so humiliated. I could not believe that in the chaos of life I forgot to invite people who are so close to us! I called my aunt immediately and gave her the addresses of his two sisters but that wasn’t my only mistake. My grandmother never received her invitation either! The stress of compiling a guest list for the engagement party and the mistakes that followed mortified me. While the party went on with my grandmother in attendance and Kristian's sisters unable to make it the remorse I felt for my absent minded mistakes did not relent. Learning the Hard Way Although my forgetfulness was embarrassing I learned a valuable lesson: use the etiquette book. Lately I have developed a bit of an obsession with etiquette. Don’t get me wrong etiquette is nothing new to me. I was raised to act like a lady and always say please and thank you, but the definition of good manners seems to be changing. With text messaging and social networks popping up everywhere "proper" etiquette seems to be taking a backseat. Maybe its just me but I don't think its too much to ask for a timely RSVP or a handwritten thank you note. In fact, I rather appreciate those things. Though in spite of my usual cognizance about etiquette, I still mess up and continue to learn just how Emily Post kept it all together. When it comes to weddings, etiquette is a much more serious matter. An innocent mistake, like forgetting to include someone on the guest list, could result in hurt feelings, or worse, a severed relationship. Since the engagement party debacle, I frequently look over the wedding guest list. I have even added people…surprise, surprise.  Forgetting to invite people may seem like the most obvious etiquette mishap. However, there are more subtle mistakes, for example, when choosing the wedding party take into consideration their finances and availability. Choosing your best friend since sixth grade may be what you want to do, but if she’s recently been laid off and is having a hard time making ends meet, buying a bridesmaids dress would probably only add to her stress. Trust me, I have been that laid off bridesmaid and while it is flattering that a close friend wanted me to have such a special part in her big day, the guilt of not making it was almost more than I could bear. The solution? Well, if you know your girls are on a budget, try bargain shopping. Regular price or clearance dresses from a retail store can work just as well for bridesmaids. They also tend to be not as bridal and can be worn on other occasions. I found my bridesmaid dresses at Nordstrom for a killer price, so it is possible! Another little bump in the road for Kristian and I is that we plan on having a relatively small wedding. We have many acquaintances who we can not invite simply because of our limited budget. At first I felt pretty badly about telling people who I consider friends that they could not attend my wedding. However, there are alternatives besides just saying no. We plan on having a celebration in Florida, where we currently live, with the people who we cannot invite from church and work. A similar idea would work in Dallas where many of our friends still live. While it isn’t exactly the same as attending the wedding, a smaller celebration still makes people feel included in the festivities. I think the etiquette book will approve! Now these are just a few of the issues I’ve run into so far. With seven months until the wedding I’m sure I’ll hit a few more bumps. Maybe I’ll even share them here so you all can laugh with me along the way. Hopefully future mistakes won’t include insulting family members or any other major offenses. I will follow the etiquette book to the tee and I can only hope my guests do the same when it comes to minding their manners.