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New Years Resolutions

is7 days into the new year and most of us probably have already given up on our new years resolutions.  Ahhh….but it was worth the try.  Right?  NO!  Perhaps you are setting goals that are not realistic.  It is important to set small goals and conquer them one by one rather then set a HUGE goal that sets you up for defeat before you even begin.  Or maybe you are just setting the wrong goal for yourself…you have not found the right jelly to go with your peanut butter or in my home Nutella.  Yes, you guessed it,  I’m hungry and I have just digressed myself into a food blog.  lol

Seriously, resolutions are truly another word for GOALS.  So start small.  Instead of setting a goal to lose weight this year, think smaller and set a goal of walking every day for thirty minutes or eliminating something from your diet.  Start Small!!!  It is easy to say my resolution is to lose 40 pounds this year.  But if you never set smaller goals you will never accomplish it and in 2017 you will be right back where you started.  Year after year the same goals and after the first week of the new year we are waving the white flag, pat ourselves on the back for good effort, and go back to our regular habits.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?

This year I sat back and thought about the resolutions I have had in the past and why I failed them.  And I realized not only was I thinking too big, but…I wasn’t letting God help me.  I never once thought to pray and ask God help me to fulfill my New Years Resolutions.  And why not?!  God should be in control over everything in my life.  God has walked with me through all my up’s and down’s and knows my deepest, darkest secrets.  Of course God would know the best resolution to fit me and how to see it through.  So this year my resolutions not only include taking family walks,  decreasing sugar and caffeine intake,  spending more time with family, and putting down the technology.  A while back my Pastor spoke of “BEING ALL THERE” for your children and loved ones and taking a break from the smart phone and FACEBOOK.  I have done well with this thus far, my phone does not stay on me at all times and I do not go online much when at home.  This year I am taking this a bit further and I will limit my tech time to an hour a week.  This gives me more quality time with my children and is a great stress reliever.  It is amazing how much one can miss when they are surviving in a virtual world and not the real world.

BUT ALSO…to pray more!  Spending more time speaking to Jesus.  Not just a couple times a day, but multiple times throughout the day.   Praying for my family, health, help with meeting my NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, happiness, healing, peace, for our country and brave soldiers fighting for our freedoms, for Christians around the world, for strangers, for wrong doers, and everything and anything that comes my way.

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

“But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.”  Jeremiah 20:11

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

Put Jesus in the driver’s seat this year and be blessed!

 

Welcome back to the real world…

After enjoying two weeks off with my kiddos, I was faced with going back into the real world today.  Not very easy waking up at 5:30AM  just to head into a load of unfinished duties at the office.  So as the rest of the world enjoys one more week day of slumber before the kids rush back to school on Monday, I will wrap up 2014 with final closeouts and reports and say hello to the New Year.

This is my view for the day:

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With the New Year comes New Year’s Resolutions…do you make New Year’s Resolutions (NYR’s)?  If you do here are a few steps that you can take to ensure you are successful in meeting your NYR’s.

Step 1)  Do not repeat last year’s failed resolutions.  If you failed them once, chances are they are not gonna work this year either.  Start out fresh and try something new.  Or maybe rethink last year’s NYR and change it up a bit, so that it is achievable.

Step 2)  Set small reachable goals.  Think of something that is easily attainable for you this year.

Step 3) Have a plan.  A plan of action will ensure that you are successful in reaching your goal.

This year my goal is to eat healthier and to spend more time with my children and not so much in the virtual world.  I have designed my own plan that is suitable for me and my family, with great hopes to earn a mastery when I achieve both goals. I also have my own back up support team that will keep me focused and on track…MY KIDS!

Have fun with your NYR’s and if you don’t succeed…NO WORRIES!  Don’t beat yourself up.  You always have next year to set new goals and try again!

The Power of Music

Music is part of our lives whether we realize it or not. Music is clinging of pots and pans, the sweet sounds of nature, and can be heard through various instruments. Music has the power to influence our moods, strengthen our minds, and it also has the power to heal. The authors of our text suggest that music is a gift and it is vital to our development and human spirit. (Altshuler & Janaro, 2012 p.155) The ultimate power behind music is absolutely intriguing. The tone, melody, and rhythmic incantations can send us into a trance that intertwines with our deepest thoughts and emotions; ultimately controlling our mannerisms and inner most thoughts.
As a child I remember learning sweet lullabies such as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, You are My Sunshine, and Jesus Loves Me. My mother would sing these songs to me each and every night before prayers. Now as a parent, I sing the same soft melodies to my children. These songs are warm and bring on sweet slumber. The words are innocent and simple. When I think of these songs, I am brought back to a time in which things were simple. I remember how safe, protected, and loved I felt when my mother would snuggle me and sing me off to sleep. Music during my childhood was about comfort, security, and joy.
As I grew up and entered the years of my adolescence, my taste of music changed. I went from the soft sounds of innocence that was influenced by my parents to a sound that reflected me as an individual; as a teen. Music became a drug in which I experimented with. There were songs that made me giddy, songs to heal my broken heart, songs that were forbidden, and songs that helped me to escape the reality in which I lived. I would gain strength from songs like, “Unbreak my Heart, by Toni Braxton and “Since You Been Gone,” by Kelly Clarkson when I was going through a very damaging break up. There was something healing about the words being sung. The pain was real. Not only was this music reflective of the confused mess of hormones and emotions I was feeling inside as I went through puberty, but also a way that I could rebel against my parents. Color Me Bad had released a song called “I Wanna Sex You Up,” that was real popular and there was another by Boyz to Men, “I’ll Make Love to You.” These two songs were forbidden in my Christian home. They were considered naughty and sinful. My parents lectured me countless times about my taste in music and tried to shield me from the influence of the tasteless words. As an adolescent I was in need of expression and a way to fit in to a world that was very confusing. I sought out music that I felt expressed who I was and what I was going through at the time. “The music is what the emotion sounds like.” (Altshuler & Janaro, 2012 p. 161) Most importantly, I was looking to be my own person and not controlled by my parents and like a willful child I did the opposite of what my parents hoped for me. Music was freedom.
As I have gotten older, my place in this world has been defined through my relationship in Christ. Thus, the music that plays on my radio, and the words I chose to sing have a deeper meaning. I seek music that holds promise, love, hope, and forgiveness. I find these needs to be fulfilled through gospel and praise music. There is nothing greater than singing about the promises of God’s great love to comfort the soul. When I feel like the walls are crashing in on me and that I am alone in the world, I gain strength knowing that the Lord God is carrying me. I am reminded that I am not alone through songs like, “Praise You in this Storm,” by Casting Crowns. As I sing, “every tear I cried, you hold in your hand; you never left my side,” I feel an overwhelming flow of God’s love and I know that no matter what; God is in control. There is a promise that brings hope through this gospel music. There is a cleansing of my soul that comes when I sing the words written by Travis Cottrell in his song, “Jesus Saves.” It is because of God’s great love and sacrifice that I am made clean and new. I wear no chains in life because of the promise of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ. There is a spiritual connection that is all powerful when I sing the great name of Jesus and this brings ultimate healing power.
Music is also a great way to express happiness. When I am happy I like to hum, whistle, even burst out in song. There is not just one song I sing when I am happy. Lately, I have been singing, “Fa la la la laaaa, la laaaa, laaa, laaaaa.” Yes! Deck the Halls, and it brings great joy to my heart and a great big smile. It is also a catchy tune that engages those around me, which spreads great cheer. I have also been known to break out with, “let it go, let it go!” and “everything is awesome!” These songs are fun, happy, warm, and contagious! Such an easy and quick way to spread a smile.
Music is important through every stage of life. It is an expression and a reflection of who you are. Our lives change like the seasons, as we grow and discover. Thus the music that defines us also changes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
References:
Altshuler, T., & Janaro, R. (2012). The Humanities: A Shining Beacon. In The art of being human: The humanities as a technique for living. New York: Harper & Row. pp 151, 161

Sideways Cross Necklace: Christian Symbolism or just another fashion trend with an endless meaning?

A few years ago I purchased a sideways cross necklace. My sister asked me one day what it meant. She said the sideways cross didn’t sit with her the right way. That was the first time I thought that it could have an alternate meaning. I started to research online, I mean I don’t want to wear something that goes against my faith. I found as there is no definite meaning behind the necklace, other than being a fashion statement.  I decided to take my research to the Bible.  The Good Book has never failed me before and is filled with answers to every question I can think of.  As I scanned through some of my favorite verses in the Bible I came across John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  God loved us..you and me so much that he sacrificed his son Jesus.  Jesus was sent to earth, born of a virgin, and marked with a promise for us.  What is this promise, you ask?  That Jesus would die and be  crucified on the cross to save you and me from our sins and to give us eternal life. In John 19:30, ” When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”  Jesus’ last words while on the cross were, “It is finished!”  These words translate to the Greek word ‘tetelestai’ which means “paid in full.”  Understanding what Jesus meant when he declared, “it is finished,” is very important.  What is finished?  Jesus completed the works of his father, God Almighty, which ended at the cross.  The eternal debt of sin was paid in full by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  The cross is a symbolism of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of the body of Jesus Christ.  But why wear a cross turned on it’s side?  Because as Christians we are to take up the cross and share the gospel of Christ.  For Jesus commanded us to be cross bearers.   He said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” Luke 9:24-25.

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I wear my sideways cross necklace not because it is a fashion trend worn by Selena Gomez or Miley Cyrus.  I wear it because it symbolizes hope and sacrificial love of my God Almighty.  It reflects God’s promise to me and for me.  It is also a reminder of the works that I should be doing for Jesus while I am living in my temporary home.  I shall take up my cross and follow Jesus.

For more inspirational and God focused posts please follow this link to Woman to Woman Ministries where you can read more from other Christian and faith based bloggers like me.


Time to speak out

Dalcor Property Management is new to Florida.  They manage apartments through out the state.  The corporate location is in Texas.  This property management group purchased the apartments that I called home for about two years.  About four months after they took over they contacted me telling me I had to provide proof of income and be approved as a new tenant.  This totally went against the lease agreement that I had with the previous management company.  At this time I really didn’t think much of it.  So I presented them with my pay stubs and waited to receive the message that would ensure my children and I could continue calling this place home.  About a week or so later I received an email telling me that I was not approved and I had til the end of the month to move out.  I was beside myself.  The property was low income housing and as a single mother of two children, making less than favorable income I knew this was a mistake.  So I pleaded with them to recalculate the income.  I asked for numbers and how the income was calculated.  The property manager was calculating my income with the previous year’s numbers provided by HUD.  This was the first challenge I had to overcome.  The company was unlawfully using the income guidelines from 2013 which were much lower than the current guidelines.  I continued to press the issue and every time I contacted Carmen the property manager I received the run around.  I didn’t know what to do.  I reported the property to HUD and began searching for a new place to live.  I was able to get approved at another low income apartment complex and I knew that Dalcor was wrong for reporting the wrong numbers.  I signed a new lease and we moved out.  I moved out with 15 days left to my lease that I had with the previous company.  In the lease agreement it stated that when the property was sold the new owners had to honor the terms of my agreement and because they tried to establish me as a new tenant they voided the contract.  However, they sent me a final bill that reflected over $1,000 due for breaking the contract.  I rebuttled a number of times.  Arguing the final bill and after months of fighting with them I was able to get some of my deposit back.  I rebuttled on July 31st and never received a response.  I sent them a letter written in the third party and was written to reflect an educated professional and a few days later a small part of my deposit was returned.  I am not completely satisfied, but I will settle.  The issue is this happens to so many innocent people.  There were a number of people that were run out of the complex when they began the renovations.  So many of my neighbors that were poor were stuck with bills just as outrageous as mine.  Sadly for these individuals they can not afford to fight or perhaps they do not know their rights as a tenant.  These final bills go unpaid and sit on their already rotting credit report.  I fortunately study law.  I am aware of my rights and I was not going to let Dalcor cheat me.  I stood up to them and I was prepared to take them to smalls claim court.  I had pictures, testimonies, video, and emails that proved this company to be unethical and unlawful.  I left out a ton of details that are pertinent to what I experienced and my fight.  What I wanted to come across strong is this company is out to cheat everyone that they can.  They have no mercy and they are very unprofessional.  Beware of Dalcor and their practices.  If you find yourself in a situation like I did, seek legal counseling or study the landlord-tenant laws of your state.  Stand up for yourself and your rights.

For the love of all things Boho and Shabby Chic!

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Beautiful, Authentic, and totally Boho Chic!  These three words describe the element of Blair Bailey Design and their beautiful creations.   This shop can be found on Etsy and offers a variety of dream catchers, flower crowns, and stationary all with a southern/bohemian flare.  Blair Christianson is the artist and mastermind behind these lovely creations and more!  Each piece is handmade and not one is like the other.   With each intricately woven thread, Blair creates these beautiful dream catchers.  They can be customized to match your home decor and are also perfect for a country wedding.  As for me I am a Southern Chick with a love for urban country decor and I absolutely  love the tranquility that the dream catcher adds to my family room.

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The chicness does not stop there!  Blair also creates beautiful flower crowns that are fit for a shabby chic princess!  Wear a flower crown on a beautiful summer’s day with a sundress; dressed down with a pair of jeans, a lace top, and a pair of boots; or wear one on your wedding day!  I can’t begin to tell you how perfectly, perfect the rose crown is for a wedding!  Blair’s flower crowns will add  a  feminine, dainty, romantic touch that will make you feel absolutely beautiful just the way you are!